By Tommy McCardle |Staff Writer|
Dank memes are bringing to life the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
KnowYourMeme.com describes dank memes as online viral media that have exhausted their comedic value to the point of being considered cliché.
In recent weeks, memes featuring Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama have become a popular method to share disdain for President-elect Donald Trump.
“Memes have been used to relay and convey messages, feeling or ideas,” said political activist at the World
Wide Resistance Network, Christopher Sheldon.
Memes on social media have increased in popularity which begs the question of how much influence memes have had on communication in the twenty-first century.
“I think internet memes have added to communication ‘shorthand’ already available via texting and emails,” said Communication Studies Professor, Lane Shefter Bishop.
Texting and emails don’t carry as much richness as face-to-face communication does.
“Unfortunately they have the same inherent drawbacks as those mediums which lack both inflection and emotion, and therefore can often be misinterpreted,” said Bishop.
Often on social media people will comment with a meme instead of typing a message.
Memes can have both positive and negative effects on people, depending on the situation.
CSUSB Alumnus Adam Ghossein is a member of an online group that is almost exclusively comprised of meme sharing.
“Sometimes great friendships are made up from sharing memes,” said Ghossein.
Ghossein’s interaction with memes allowed him to meet his current girlfriend.
“I found out she loves sharing dank memes which actually opened me up to going out with her,” said Ghossein.
Unfortunately, there is also a nasty side to dank memes.
“They tend to make fun of people or things much like a stand-up comedian would,” said CSUSB senior, Hayley Stoltz.
Memes can be seen as a form of political cartoons by the younger generation.
“They also represent popular culture and influence it greatly,” said Stoltz.
One of the most circulated dank memes online displays a photo of a girl with down syndrome, Heidi Crowter, often with the caption “I can count to potato.”
Crowter’s baby photo has been shared over the internet as a meme since as early as 2009.
Heidi’s mother, Liz, shielded Heidi from access to the meme for years.
Even going to the extent of reporting instances of the meme being shared on social media.
Another popular meme that gets shared online, especially in times of major sport championship events, is
African Kids Dancing. The photo depicts four children from what seems to be an African tribe in the middle of a dance.
Commonly used captions to accompany the meme will mention a shipment of merchandise for a losing team’s predicted championship win on the way to the tribe, considering the team will not be needing the merchandise for having lost.
“I never cared or found the memes offensive,” said Tyler Ray, an African-American professional wrestler.
Other widely popular memes include Forever Alone, Trollface, Ermahgerd, Y U NO, and The Most Interesting Man in the World.
As social norms change, so does communication. These memes, whether positive or negative, have paved a way for a new form of visual non-verbal communication.